Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is accusing the Catholic Church of failing to disclose sexual abuse claims against hundreds of priests and clergy members.

Madigan on Wednesday released the preliminary findings from her investigation into the state's Catholic Church, which she initiated in August after a Pennsylvania grand jury report identified hundreds of "predator priests" in Pennsylvannia dating back decades.


The Illinois attorney general's office has found that the six Catholic dioceses in the state have failed to disclose sexual misconduct allegations against more than 500 priests.

The dioceses have released the names of 185 clergy members who have been "credibly" accused of sexual abuse, and Madigan in the statement said "there are at least another 500 clergy that the Illinois dioceses have received allegations about." 

“By choosing not to thoroughly investigate allegations, the Catholic Church has failed in its moral obligation to provide survivors, parishioners and the public a complete and accurate accounting of all sexually inappropriate behavior involving priests in Illinois,” Madigan said in the statement.

“The failure to investigate also means that the Catholic Church has never made an effort to determine whether the conduct of the accused priests was ignored or covered up by superiors,” she added.

The report concludes that the dioceses are unfit to investigate themselves and “will not resolve the clergy sexual abuse crisis on their own.”

The Illinois attorney general's investigation is ongoing.

The archbishop of Chicago, Cardinal Blase Cupich, in a statement said, “I want to express again the profound regret of the whole church for our failures to address the scourge of clerical sexual abuse."

Thirty-six dioceses out of 197 across the country have publicized lists of clergy "credibly accused" of sexual abuse since the Pennsylvania grand jury report was published over the summer, CNN reported.

Many of these lists have been challenged, with survivor's rights groups accusing the church of failing to disclose the breadth of the issue.

“The preliminary stages of this investigation have already demonstrated that the Catholic Church cannot police itself,” Madigan said. “Allegations of sexual abuse of minors, even if they stem from conduct that occurred many years ago, cannot be treated as internal personnel matters.”

The Catholic Church faced renewed scrutiny earlier this year regarding its treatment of sexual abuse by clergy members following the resignation of former D.C. archbishop Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and a Pennsylvania grand jury report that documented decades of sexual abuse by Catholic leaders in the state. 

The Vatican on Tuesday released new details on Pope Francis's plans for a sex abuse prevention summit slated for late February.